Q & A with Davella: A University Student Teaching Mandarin

Profile of a Eurekly Student Tutor: Davella Tang

Teaching on Eurekly is incredibly flexible. You get to decide what to teach and how often. Teaching part-time is a perfect opportunity for students in particular students working towards a teaching degree.

We recently caught up with one of our Mandarin tutors who is a full-time university student to find out a little bit about her and her passion for teaching.

Name: Davella Tang

Current Profession. Full-time student studying: Teaching and Linguistics at Auckland University.

Native language: Mandarin and Cantonese

Also speaks: English
Teaching: Mandarin and Cantonese
Number of students: 12

Q: What does Davella mean? Where did you get that name, it doesn’t sound Chinese.

Well, most Chinese people get an English name for themselves simply because the name sounds good to them. Some of them just search for it online. I got the name when I was 12 because the name of my celebrity crush was “Vae”, so I wanted to have those three letters in my English name. Then I literally just searched “English names for girls” online, and picked this usual name as I really like to be weird and unique, lol.

Q & A with Davella Tang

Q: What do you love about teaching?

A: What made me decide to be a teacher was my interest in teaching foreigners Mandarin. While I have teaching experience in areas other than language teaching, I am particularly passionate about teaching Mandarin.

When it comes to teaching, it takes effort to analyze the language rules, because as native speakers, we speak the language without knowing the explicit rules. Sometimes I spend days trying to figure out the explicit rules of my mother tongue because as a teacher, I need to explain the rules to my students. I find it very interesting studying the rules of my first language since I am always learning something new.

Cultures are closely associated with their language. So when I am teaching, I am also thinking about my culture from a foreigner’s perspective, which is intriguing.

Q: Did you have a teacher that inspired you?

A: When I was in primary school, my head teacher taught me for 5 years. She had a huge influence on me. She always told us to keep reading and keep studying, to be kind and try our best to be the best person we could.

My mother who is a Chinese teacher in an intermediate school in China is also an inspiration. I didn’t want to be a teacher when I was young because I remember my mother was always marking exam papers and essays at home late into the night. A teacher often needs to work overtime, spending lots of time reading and researching in order to prepare well for lessons. When I was preparing for my first one-hour-lesson for my first student, I spent two days preparing it!

Q: Tell us a favorite colloquial expression in Mandarin?

Instead of saying “How are you”, we often ask instead “ni chi le ma?” (Have you eaten?) It is usually used around lunch or dinner time. You can ask your mates or simply any people you know this question. The way people greet each other actually shows how much we value food in our culture in China.

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